Borrowing to Adopt
By Crown Financial Ministries
Adoption offers a chance at a new beginning for many children cared for by state and private agencies. Families constitute the building blocks of society. A strong family unit provides adoptive children with the love and security that is needed to ensure that they grow into healthy adults.
The decision to adopt
Because the adoption of children needs to be planned, within reason, a decision to adopt must not be made without prayer and the counsel of mature and trusted Christians.
In addition, inviting input from family members could be both insightful and helpful.
Other factors that need to be considered before making a decision to adopt: (1) meeting eligibility standards; (2) travel requirements; (3) the availability of the child desired; (4) willingness to adopt a special needs or biracial child; (5) the length of the process; and (6) the cost.
Cost of adoption
Most adoption fees are prorated, based on the prospective adoption couple’s gross income—the more the gross income, the higher the adoption fees.
In addition to the adoption fees, there will more than likely be additional expenses that must be paid at placement. These include attorney and legal fees, medical expenses, child-placement agency fees, court fees, filing fees, foster care reimbursement, home study and home study follow-up fees, locating fee (if applicable), post-placement supervision expense, finalization fees, agency travel reimbursement, and the birth mother’s expenses. These additional expenses could be equal to or, in most cases, exceed the prorated adoption fees.
Although both state and private agencies consider both the husband’s and the wife’s income, when budgeting for adoption expenses, the wife’s income should not be considered in month-by-month spending. The wife’s salary should be saved and used to help cover the adoption expenses.
Generally one-third of the total amount of all fees and expenses is due at placement, one-third at the first post-placement evaluation, and one-third at the second post-placement evaluation.
However, if the adoption is from an out-of-state couple, the total payment will usually be due at the time of placement.
Although some states offer partial reimbursements of nonrecurring adoption expenses, such as legal fees, court costs, and home studies, such reimbursements may be slow in coming. So, before they begin the process, a couple should have in hand the money they will need to complete the placement.
Borrowing to adopt
Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac quotes, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” Although it is good common sense, it is not from God’s Word.
However, many Christians feel that all borrowing is prohibited according to Romans 13:8: “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” In order to properly interpret this Scripture, it must be considered in light of the context in which it appears.
In this particular reference, Paul was not necessarily talking specifically about money; he was teaching that we are never to allow someone to do something for us if we are not willing to do even more for them.
Scripture very clearly says that neither borrowing nor lending is prohibited, but firm guidelines are given. Borrowing is discouraged and, in fact, every biblical reference to it is a negative one (see Proverbs 22:7), accompanied by a warning.
So, because the scriptural guideline for borrowing is very clear, in the regular course of God’s plan for any couple, debt is not God’s ideal plan for them.
For this reason, borrowing to adopt is not advised. Debt makes it very difficult for a new family to make it.
If God wants you to adopt, He will provide a way for you to finance it without having to jeopardize your future.
One alternative to borrowing would be to ask your church not only for prayer support but for financial support to assist you in adopting a child. If your church has a benevolence program, this would certainly fall under this category.
Circumstantial evidence weighs heavily against a young couple being able to afford adoption without God’s help.
Fortunately, we do not have to look at the outward appearance of things; we can look to the One who controls all the circumstances of our lives.
If a couple feels strongly that God is directing them to adopt, they should begin to save, to prepare for the adoption expenses, knowing that if He is truly leading, all funds needed will be provided without having to borrow.
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